Lyssna (2015 – 2016)

Lyssna functions like a hearing aid on your refrigerator. It is attached to the refrigerator door and rotates every once in a while to get your attention. When it is moved across the door of your fridge, you hear the sounds of the food in the fridge. Lyssna creates a unique sound for every food item. The sound changes over time representing the state of freshness and accompanying flavor of the food. You can explore the contents of your fridge, get inspired, and make cooking combinations by composing a personal symphony of tastes.

Lyssna could be a smart home technology as it provides information on the contents of your fridge, both in terms of the state of the food (the changes in sound) and the amount of food (more sounds means more food). However, Lyssna translates this information into sound underscoring the creative and interpretative aspects of information over utility. This approach opens the door for Lyssna to consider the interpretive and sensory qualities of food to stimulate creativity and resourcefulness as a response to food waste.

In the proposed narrative (see video), Lyssna, helps Anna, our main character, to explore flavors of her leftover ingredients to spontaneously cook with the leftover ingredients for an unexpected dinner guest. In this narrative, we situate Lyssna in domestic practices and illustrate how it can unobtrusively enable the practice of cooking.

Lyssna was developed as part of my Master’s thesis. The design was informed by a process using a series of design probes to understand people’s domestic food practices. Of particular interest was the way in which particular food items through the household and dynamically change categories of value (e.g. ingredient, leftover, waste).